Regarding Bombardier’s efforts to stifle competition in the commercial aircraft market

Posted by Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation on Jan 28, 2019 9:45:25 PM

Today, in our ongoing lawsuit with Bombardier, Inc., our US-based subsidiary Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation America, Inc. filed a counterclaim asserting that Bombardier has engaged in illegal anticompetitive behavior with the intent to impede the development and certification of the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) aircraft. We want to offer some perspective on how we arrived at the decision to take this action and why it is important for the industry that we prevail. 

During the past year, we’ve pointed to the need for choice in the commercial aircraft market. To thrive, the airline industry needs options among high-quality aircraft when fleet purchase decisions are made. This in turn requires robust competition among airframers. However, we believe the commercial aircraft market has been moving in the opposite direction. We see a resulting opportunity for a new aircraft that is purpose-built for the sub-100 seat market. 

Our competitors recognize that the MRJ is a compelling entrant that meets this need, and that it will challenge their dominance of the regional aircraft market. We believe that in response to the threat posed by the MRJ, Bombardier has chosen to engage in a pattern of anticompetitive conduct instead of competing on the merits of its product.

It is our position that Bombardier has engaged in a multifaceted scheme of illegal anticompetitive conduct, directed against Mitsubishi, our partners and our employees. As alleged in the counterclaim filing, since late 2015 Bombardier has threatened, pressured and sought to coerce Mitsubishi, our US-based partner, and individual employees working on the MRJ program. The filings also detail how when we refused to accede to Bombardier’s demands, it filed the present lawsuit.

While these threats and the lawsuit purportedly relate to allegations of trade secret misappropriation, we believe such allegations have consistently lacked any factual or legal merit. Rather, our position is that these threats and the present litigation have a different aim - to delay the MRJ from entering the market.

We also believe that Bombardier’s actions negatively impact the aerospace industry by chilling the mobility of aerospace engineers. We note that Bombardier decided to file its lawsuit against not only corporate defendants, but also individual aerospace engineers, many of whom contributed the majority of their engineering careers to Bombardier. Bombardier could have kept this lawsuit between corporate parties. Instead, it chose to sue individuals, taking them into litigation and casting a permanent cloud over their engineering careers.

We believe this tactic by Bombardier will chill the mobility of aerospace engineers among all aircraft development programs, which has been an established norm for decades in the aerospace industry. This mobility not only promotes a prosperous industry, it is an important element of ensuring that the airline industry and passengers can count on safe and reliable aircraft that improve with each generation. More specifically, we maintain that through its trade secret claim, Bombardier seeks to block its former employees from using their general skills and knowledge relating to aircraft certification on the MRJ program – none of which constitutes the intellectual property of Bombardier or any other company. To be clear, none of this is about trade secrets, it’s about Bombardier’s attempts to stifle competition.

Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation will not be intimidated by this behavior. We stand behind our employees, including those who have been wrongly implicated in Bombardier’s groundless allegations. We are pleased to have many ex-Bombardier employees working on the MRJ program at a time when their former employer is reducing its workforce.

We are proud to be bringing the world’s next great aircraft to market, which will set a new standard for passengers and provide airlines with an asset that will transform their businesses. We are making steady progress in developing the MRJ and look forward to first delivery to our customers beginning next year.

We will vigorously pursue our defense and our counterclaim, the outcome of which is not only important to the future success of our company and the MRJ, but to the airline and commercial aerospace industries, their tens of thousands of employees and the flying public.

For an official media statement regarding Mitsubishi Aircraft Corporation’s claim again Bombardier, please visit http://www.FlyTheMRJ.com/news

Tags: News Releases, Program Developments